Follow-up or tracer studies have enjoyed popularity in LIS training needs/ assessment analyses over the past 20 years in Africa in studies by scholars such as Anadiran (1988) in Nigeria; Alemna (1991, 1999) and Kisie du (1993) in Ghana; Rosenberg (1989, 1994) in Kenya; Ocholla (2001 and 2005) and Stilwell (2004) in South Africa Rugambwa (1998) and Mammo (2007) in Ethiopia; Aina and Moahi (1999) in Botswana; and Lutwana and Kigongo – Bukenya (2004) in Uganda. Mammo (2007) conducted a study on the status of LIS education in Ethiopia and the perceptions of graduates on the LIS program me.
The study revealed that in one university ,the LIS program me changed to Information Systems because of university-wide changes ,while in another university, the LIS curriculum remained the same. Graduates indicated that they were not satisfied with the LIS programme. 2 Lutwana and Kigongo-Bukenya (2004) conducted a study on the appropriateness of the EASLIS (East Africa School of Library and Information Science) curriculum to professional practice in Library and Information Science field in Uganda.
The purpose of the study was to establish where graduates worked, what they did, and whether their education met employers’ expectations.
It further identified areas of curriculum revision. The study revealed that most graduates were employed in academic institutions, government departments, banks and NGO’s libraries, where they performed various professional activities. The study also revealed that employers complained about the lack of practical skills among the graduates, citing specialization through electives as inadequate .
Aina and Moahi (1999) conducted a tracer study of graduates from the Department of Library and Information Studies at the University of Botswana. The aim of the study was to determine the curriculum of the Department of LIS at the University of Botswana. The study revealed that the graduates were employed in traditional library settings. The study also found that their training was relevant to the tasks that they performed, although they advocated the strengthening of the information technology component of the curriculum . Kaijage (n. d. conducted a tracer study on the skills and knowledge of B. Com graduates of the University of Dares Salaam.
The study concluded that the knowledge and skills that the graduates obtained from the university were relevant to their jobs. But it also suggested that changes should be made to the program me. There are also many other tracer studies conducted all over the Africa and the rest of the world. In South Africa, Stilwell (2004) conducted a survey of alumni perceptions of thepost graduate ILS (Information and Library Science program me at the University of Natal).
Critical issues, such as balancing the human centre approach with IT, were identified. The findings of the study indicated that the program me achieved its outcomes because it prepared alumni well for the work place. Ocholla’s (2001) tracer study of LIS graduates from 1996 -1997 determined whether the skills and attitudes they gained during their training at the University of Zululand applied in their jobs. The results of the study indicate that graduates obtained sufficient knowledge from the degree program me .
These examples indicate that tracer studies are generally conducted to find out about the fates of departmental graduates or alumni. They investigate where graduates are, whether they are employed, and employers’ perceptions about the skills and knowledge that LIS graduates have. They are also used to obtain feedback from employed alumni and employers on the relevance of the program me offered by different departments. Like most tracer studies, this study addresses the same questions: Are the graduates employable?
Is the curriculum relevant? What are the perceptions of graduates and employers about the graduates’ skills, knowledge and education? Local literature At the Palanca literary awards dinner the other Saturday, Mrs. Sylvia Palanca Quirino invited the new Tourism Secretary, Ramon Jimenez Jr. , to be the guest speaker. Jimenez was responsible for coining the latest tourism come-on, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines. ” He talked about literature and how it can help the tourism industry which, as we all know, has yet to be fully exploited.
So many countries in our part of the world, particularly Thailand, have reaped millions from the flood of tourists visiting these countries. We get only a trickle, for though we have great possibilities, there is not enough global interest in our country and its attractions. Much of this is due to our own myopia, of our leaders who do not understand or realize the myriad possibilities here if we only know how to use them! Jimenez should produce long-range programs. This is one common fault of government; a new administration takes over and new policies are made no continuity is pursued.
Will the slogan, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” last only three years from now.? Will it be replaced when a new administration takes over? This is a minor point; will initiatives today be continued in the future? Does the present administration accept the past administration program enough to pursue its good aspects? Will our tourism executives use them? Just consider this: how many visitors go to England, to visit Stratford-on-Avon because they have enjoyed William Shakespeare’s plays.
Those tourists clambering up the hills in Greece how many of them are there because they read the Homeric classics? And Spain, which reaps so much from the thousands upon thousands of visitors every year, how many visit that country because they have read Cervantes, and Hemingway’s novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and all those gory bullfight scenes in his fiction? Permit me to brag a bit. Once, I brought a busload of expats and some locals to the Ilokos because they wanted to see the setting of the Rosales saga. I was their tour guide.
We went to my hometown, Rosales, and showed them two of the old houses which I used as models, and to that rundown barrio called Cabugawan where I was born, then on to Tayug where the Colorum rebelled in 1931, and to the Ilokos to see the old churches and finally to Cabugaw where the saga starts. And then one morning, more than a decade ago, a young man visited my bookshop. He was a schoolteacher in Holland; he had read Mass, the concluding novel in the Rosales saga which was published first in Dutch rather than in the English original.
This was his first visit to Asia. Mass had appealed to him so much, he wanted to see its setting. I took him to Forbes Park first, then to Tondo, to Barrio Magsaysay and to Smokey Mountain which was still smoking then. Then we went to the university belt, to Recto and he saw all those young students milling about. And finally, that early evening we visited one of the massage parlors in Quezon City. Our National Hero, Jose Rizal he wrote the greatest Filipino novel why is there no literary tour based on his work and on his life?
This literary tour will be more for Filipinos than for foreigners. It will impinge on our youth those virtues so terribly missing now the rectitude, the patriotism all the qualities which Rizal personified. Such a tour, led by a guide steeped in history, could start in the morning with a trip to Calamba, the Rizal house, the lake, and nearby Mt. Makiling. From there, back to Manila, to the Noli geography, the University of Santo Tomas, Binondo then Fort Santiago, the Luneta where Rizal was executed, and finally to Paco Cemetery where he was first buried.
It could end with a view of the Manila sunset. Tourism for locals is growing it should be the way it is with Japan where the Japanese themselves are the best tourists in their own country. I told Jimenez to consider the movies. The Koreans are now producing epic historical movies, and those addictive telenovelas which have enthralled so many all over the world. My daughter-in-law, Lee Pai, who teaches history at the University of California at Santa Barbara happened to be visiting.
She said those movies and telenovelas are scripted by Korea’s leading writers familiar with the literary classics of the West and East which explains the high quality of the telenovelas unlike the asinine and moronic serials produced by local TV. As evidenced by the Palanca awards, we are never short of literary talent. Why do our movie and TV people ignore them? Movie festivals are a great attraction in Europe and so are book fairs and literature meetings. Singapore has an international literary festival each year, India, too, and the annual Frankfurt Book Fair is one of the biggest attractions in this German city.
Just concluded in Korea is the Annual PEN Congress an international meeting of writers. Writers attending this Congress will surely go home and write about Korea, further enlarging the global reach of that prosperous and booming country. Meanwhile, let me continue tossing encomiums at the Palancas for their perseverance, charity and goodwill in supporting the Awards for literature. I knew the founder, Carlos Palanca Jr. , personally he was very charming, debonair, with a wide circle of acquaintances in business and with the culturati.
As far back as I can recall, it was the late NVM Gonzalez and Nick Joaquin who suggested to him the creation of the Awards to encourage literary excellence in the country. Sixty-two years three generations! I do not think such an effort has any equal in the region or in all of Asia. The vitality and continuing relevance of such effort requires organizational skills, massive expenditure and vision. It is a wonder to me why, up to now, this massive contribution of the Palancas to our culture and nation has not been publicly recognized.
Filipino writers should be grateful to the children of Charlie Palanca who have not neglected their father’s vision. Sylvia Palanca Quirino leads them in plodding on. In the beginning, the awards were only for fiction and poetry in English and Tagalog they now include children’s stories, plays, novels, not just in these two languages but in Cebuano, Ilonggo and Ilokano. At the Awards dinner, Quirino also announced that the Awards will also recognize Filipino achievers. While the Palanca Awards promote creativity, it follows that media, particularly TV, can do so much by using the work of our best writers, as is done in Korea.
Publishers can add to what the Palanca Awards have produced create literary sections in newspapers and magazines, publish those new and splendid works. May I also now suggest to Mrs. Socorro Ramos that her National Book Stores all over the country should exhibit in their show windows Filipino books, both fiction and non-fiction? They deserve exposure, a much wider audience. Do all these not because it is patriotic but because these good writers deserve a wider readership in their own country.
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